New Distance Learning Option: Creating a Mitzvah-Centered Life

Posted by Rabbi Goldie Milgram |


This course is co-sponsored by   

“What happens to you matters to me.”—Barry Bub

This definition of love—ahavah, is at the very core of a mitzvah-centered life. The Zohar, a book of Jewish spiritual perspectives and practices, teaches that a soul needs two wings to fly—ahavah—love and yirah—awe. Accordingly, in this six session course, we will explore through study and practice the nuances of these two mitzvahs—mitzvot in depth. 

A metaphor that helps to explain this course is that the nuances of every mitzvah contain nutrients for the soul stream. These nutrients are designed to help us support each other to better survive and thrive. The system of mitzvot (pl), when understood and practiced through a spiritual lens, invites us to aspire and attain a better world.

To begin and help you set your personal spiritual curriculum, we will first consider a wide range from among the 194 mitzvot assei—positive spiritual behaviors upon which Jewish tradition is founded,  as well as the 77 mitzvot lo taaseh, harmful behaviors from which to refrain. 

This class is conceived as a non-coercive support group that will require all to show respect for diversity of gender, family composition and structure, and personal background and the presence or absence of religious orientation. Participants are asked to relate to each other’s individuality non-judgmentally—to offer good listening and support for each others spiritual development. 

For each mitzvah we will study Jewish sacred sources and stories, share our experiences and challenges in regard to the practice under consideration, and celebrate the sacred shifts that come up on this journey together. Going deeply and honestly together, we will experience the joy of connection and creation of a shared, yet personalized, Jewish lens for being Jewish in every minute. 

The option to continue with additional six week clusters, learning  our way through the deck of Mitzvah Cards may become available.

Note: Rabbi Milgram’s classes also earn credit towards the Reclaiming Judaism Maggid-Educator ordination program. 

Course Objectives:

  • To facilitate connection to Jewish practices that advance quality of life
  • To ground each practice in inspiring, sometimes surprising traditional texts
  • To illustrate, inspire and expand practices through sacred storytelling—traditional and contemporary
  • To encourage personal narrative in relationship to the impact of each practice
  • To support learning style differences by weaving in options for physical movement (embodiment), writing and the arts
  • To connect each practice to a middah (quality/attribute) such as equanimity, truth, justice, and generosity.
  • To place those coming from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles in respectful support for each other’s spiritual journeys


  • Each session is 1 hr 15 min.
  • Students will be asked to take on a study buddy (chevruta) from among the members of the class and to engage together in prior study of materials that will be provided for each session after the first one.
  • ​Create a class file on your computer or obtain a journal for noting “Aha’s”, challenges, questions and progress in your practices.

Required books and resources:

1. One deck of the Mitzvah Cards developed by the instructor and published by Reclaiming Judaism Press. Please order well in advance of the first class as we will begin using them at that time. Order link: Mitzvah Cards

2. Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: Holy Days and Shabbat, Jewish Lights Publishing

3. Meaning & Mitzvah: Daily Practices for Reclaiming Judaism, Jewish Lights Publishing


Times & Dates

Thursdays, 11:00 AM PT/2:00 PM ET
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Spring 2016 Dates: March 17, March 24, March 31, April 7, April 14, April 21

Live Class

Our class has a dedicated, virtual classroom where all course materials are posted and email communications from your teacher are archived for your convenience. You might also participate in discussion threads before and after the live class. 

For the live class, we use Zoom tele-conference software. At the appointed time, log-in via your internet browser from your computer or mobile device. We will send you detailed instructions and a link to a video on how to use Zoom. Log-in information is posted in your classroom.

Class meetings are recorded and made available in your classroom for later viewing in case you unexpectedly (or expectedly) could not attend the live class. 

Register here